Protect Chicago’s Children and Ban the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products
Earlier this summer, Ald. Matt O’Shea and Ald. Roderick Sawyer introduced a strong ordinance which end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and flavored cigars. In response to pressure from the tobacco industry, however, a watered-down version of the ordinance, which would exempt menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, is now circulating at City Hall.
Let me be clear: the menthol exemption would perpetuate health inequity in Chicago, protecting some children from the predatory, profit-driven tobacco industry while others are left to fend for themselves. .
More than half of children who smoke use menthol cigarettes, and menthol is most popular with children in black and Latino communities. Any prescription that exempts these products does not protect children of color in our city, those who are most likely to suffer from the deadly effects of smoking.
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Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap in the country. Some Chicagoans in Streeterville can expect to live to be 90 years old, while in parts of Englewood, just 11 miles to the south, life expectancy is only 60 years. Tobacco-related illnesses are a major driver of the gap, and an exemption for menthol cigarettes perpetuates an already devastating inequality.
It’s time to protect all of Chicago’s children, no matter what neighborhood they live in. Let’s end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in our city.
Jairo A. Mejia, MD
American Heart Association Metro Chicago Board of Directors
Chief Physician, ACCESS Community Health Network
Give students a break from O’Hare noise
At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, most of our students will be taking home classes due to the pandemic. Our kids need a break from the noise pollution at O’Hare Airport.
There are already many barriers to distance learning, without the addition of planes flying over up to 1 1??2 minute intervals. Most of the nearby school buildings have been soundproofed. But thousands of homes are still subject to overflights above 60 decibels. Not only is the quality of life of residents at stake, there is the risk of losing our children’s education.
It’s time for our elected officials to demand that the Federal Aviation Administration adjust low flight patterns to higher altitudes and reorient overflights over heavily populated areas.
It’s bad enough to have interrupted sleep at night. Now we are playing with the education of our children.
It took a pandemic to reduce the number of O’Hare plane flights over homes, parks and schools. But high noise levels remain.
Stephen Lushniak, Edison Park